Blogging is a required professional skill
I got the idea for this post from a great article in a U.S. lawyer blog, and I will use some of the same quotes:
If there is a single skill that I wish law schools would focus on, it should be blogging. I know I’m biased – I’m a blogger myself – but the discipline of writing regularly combined with the urgency of getting timely posts to press – has improved my legal writing immensely. Incorporating blogging into legal education is moronically easy. Professors could assign students to blog about the daily lecture, relevant topics (e.g., students could blog about bankruptcy law). Doesn’t have to be every day; maybe 3-4 posts per class per semester. Blogging would also get students comfortable with blogging software which is another key skill since they could offer to blog for practicing lawyers and help build up content.
That is from an Open Letter To Law Schools by Washington lawyer Carolyn Elefant.
Should students learn blogging?
It got me thinking on two levels. One, it’s an original idea by Ms Elefant, and that’s rare enough to get my attention. Two, and this is applicable to all professions, I wondered (yet again) what the hell are tertiary students learning nowadays? Not the ones learning a trade, presumably they study the means to ply that trade, but the ones who study law, finance, commerce, accounting – the service professions that involve graduates in the day to day affairs of real people. Obviously this is less an issue for those many graduates who enter larger firms and (perhaps) are far less exposed to the real world needs of real world clients. But what of the smaller firms who hire out of university?
And I have a personal interest in this. My son is at Monash University undertaking combined degrees in Engineering and Science, and my daughter will hopefully enter university following a gap year during which she will learn (in the real world!) how to be a volunteer youth leader. So I have some first hand knowledge of this, at least from an Australian perspective. It’s an irony that many of these tertiary students, who will one day enter service industries, are symbiotically tied to their personal technology but have little idea how to express themselves in longer form writing.
Ms Elefant again:
The importance of blogging isn’t limited to writing blogs. Students gain insight from reading (blogs). In fact, I’m not even suggesting that lawyers stick to law related blogs. I track the future of lawyer and trends …not at law sites but rather places like TechCrunch which are months ahead of anything that makes its way down to legal. What’s important is to keep current and engaged.
The future for professionals is already here
Look, everything has changed. We’re all in danger of being left behind. I’m convinced that social media is entrenched as a tool for professionals, and all too soon will be part of the set of expectations every client brings to the marketplace. For mature professionals and smaller firms who ignore this warning there is still a future, but in the end, when the dust settles in a globalised and commoditised world, the winners will be those who made the shift before their hands were forced.
What better time to start than in the very institutions in which we train to take our places in the real world?
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